Renewal and Strengthening of Group of Eminent Experts Mandate Would Be A Victory for Peace in Yemen
Women4Yemen Network urges the Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution during the current session of the Council to renew and strengthen the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen, given the Group’s crucial role in efforts towards accountability.
“Calling for accountability, including supporting the role of the Group of Eminent Experts, is a call for peace that we, as a women’s group working for peace, always demand. The endemic impunity present in Yemen must end if we hope to achieve reconciliation in the future and rebuild the social fabric required for a peace that lasts,” says Kawkab Al-Thaibani, Director of Women4Yemen Network.
The report of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen issued on September 3r, 2019, documented human rights abuses and violations and international humanitarian law violations during the last five years, including indiscriminate and disproportionate airstrikes, indiscriminate shelling, snipers targeting civilians, the use of antipersonnel landmines, as well as arbitrary killings and detention, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and impeding access to humanitarian aid in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
As a network that aspires for lasting peace, Women4Yemen Network sees the work of the Group of Eminent Experts as crucial, particularly as it shows the amount of abuse Yemeni women and women opponents have endured. The report mentioned violations and abuses meant to intimidate women from political participation. Highlighting the challenges women peacemakers and activists face aligns with our call that Yemeni women working in peace need additional support and protection, especially those working at a grassroots level.
The report calls for an end to warring party violations and abuses, and for greater efforts towards accountability. It highlights the role of foreign states, including the United States, Britain, France and Iran, in supporting parties to this conflict. The report recommends supporting the efforts of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen in his efforts to reach a political agreement to end the conflict and urges that accountability must be part of any efforts towards sustainable peace.
Sanctioning impunity and rewarding violence is one of the root causes of conflict in Yemen. Since the GCC-brokered initiative in 2011, and despite warning calls that granting immunity to individuals implicated in grave abuse could encourage more violence, the international community has to date failed to take a strong stance in favor of credible accountability efforts in Yemen.
Yemen will not enjoy peace as long as local and international actors responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross violations and abuses of human rights are enjoying impunity. The Group of Eminent Experts report sends a message of hope that the world can still come together to provide justice to Yemeni victims, which would help, not hinder, peace efforts. Failure to support the Group of Experts including by renewing and strengthening its mandate, would be a failure to support peace calls in Yemen and would further encourage the current culture of rewarding violence.
September 18, 2019